Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   23 October

Ateshyan responsible for Istanbul Patriarchate election fiasco – Agos

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 7, ARMENPRESS. The terming which the interior ministry of Turkey used regarding the elected patriarchal locum tenens Archbishop Garegin Bekchian in a letter sent to Istanbul’s Armenian Patriarchate has caused serious discontent among the local Armenian community.

Columnist of the Istanbul-based Agos newspaper Ohannes Kılıçdağı published an article about the letter and namely the terming Turkish authorities used – “So-called patriarchal locum tenens.”

The columnist reminded that the interior ministry said that as long as Mesrop Mutafyan is Patriarch and the seat is not vacant new elections cannot be held.

In addition, the letter said that Patriarchal Vicar Archbishop Aram Ateshyan continues to remain the only official representative in these conditions. While Bekchian’s election and all decisions made after it are invalid.

The letter also contained a terming – “so-called patriarchal locum tenens”. In Turkey, the term “so-called” is primarily used when referred to the Armenian Genocide.

“Those who think that this term was used by accident are wrong. Armenians of Turkey know this term very well. For many years it has become a tool of symbolic pressure on them. However, if there is a position worthy of being labeled “so-called”, then it is the position of “patriarchal vicar”. This is a totally made up position created for Ateshyan,” he said, adding that Ateshyan is guilty for the current situation.

Commenting on the interior ministry’s remarks on Mutafyan’s health, the Agos writer says that health issues are the most clear and practical reasons of considering a position vacant.

“The ministry is in a situation which denies the absolute and logical truth. In particular, this is about a serious neurological illness and unfortunately Mesrop Mutafyan is in a coma for many years. How can they say that this situation isn’t a reason for declaring the seat vacant?

The author also emphasizes, that if there is a problem in this condition, then why was Turkey in favor of the patriarchal vicar position, which Ateshyan assumed.

“If practically the patriarchal seat isn’t vacant, then there’s no need for a vicar. But if it is, then it must be occupied only through the people’s vote. It turns out that the ministry’s letter itself says that Mutafyan has stopped leading the patriarchate”, Agos said.

On February 7, Armenian community members are invited to the Istanbul Governor’s Office to a meeting, which the interior minister himself might attend.


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